Swiss doctor acquitted for assisting a suicide without a diagnosis


By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Pietro D'Amico

Pietro D’Amico

A Swiss appeals court appears to have decided that it is OK to kill a person for any reason.

Last July, a Swiss regional court found Dr. Philippe Freiburghaus “crossed the line” by assisting a suicide “without knowing precisely what disease he [the patient] was suffering,” The Local newspaper reported.

But on April 23 a Swiss appeals court overturned the decision of the police court in Boudry. News accounts did not provide the court’s reasons.

The Swiss news reported that:

“Freiburghaus told a regional court at Boudry, last June, that he acted out of compassion in prescribing a lethal dose to the elderly man, who suffered pain and had tried to commit suicide. … Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland.

“Freiburghaus said the man was suffering unbearable pain but the doctor was unable to get a precise diagnosis of the patient’s condition because he refused to be treated, according to a report from Le Matin newspaper.”

In his conviction, Freiburghaus was fined a “symbolic” 500 francs ($566 US dollars). The decision of the higher court eliminated the fine. This case was being closely watched in Switzerland as it relates to other cases.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology examined 1,301 assisted suicide deaths in Switzerland. It found that 16% of the people who died had no reported illness. As the Daily Mail reported, “A previous study of suicides by two right-to-die organizations showed that 25 per cent of those assisted had no fatal illness, instead citing ‘weariness of life’ as a factor.”

Recently an 89-year-old British woman died by assisted suicide in Switzerland because she felt alienated from the modern world.

In April 2013, an Italian man, Pietro D’Amico, died by assisted suicide in Switzerland after receiving a wrong diagnosis.

In May 2013, the European Court of Human Rights said that Switzerland did not provide clear enough guidelines on who could obtain lethal drugs.

Switzerland lacks any reasonable guidelines concerning assisted suicide. It was a travesty of justice that the doctor was only fined 500 francs for assisting a suicide without a diagnosis, now the court is simply saying go ahead and kill.

The rest of the world should realize that this is the outcome of legalized assisted suicide.

This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog.